Series reviews will be sporadic on this blog; whenever I’ve completed watching a series, or want to write about something which I’ve already watched.
Much like the title Bananya is a portmanteau of banana and the noise a cat makes (nya), this series is about creatures who are a portmanteau of bananas and cats. It’s a series of short (3-minute) episodes following the daily lives and adventures of Bananya and his friends.
Bananya and his friends live in a human family’s kitchen and throughout the series we see them playing with each other, exploring the house and the world around them, with their actions being described by an unknown narrator. There’s also a short section at the end called ‘Bananya Identification Guide’ (although the actual book cover says Bananya Picture Book) where there’s a character profile of the bananyas. Each episode stands alone, and there’s no reason to see a previous episode in order to understand any other episode.
Probably my favourite episode is the one where the bananyas are out at night and become afraid of a mysterious shadow, which turns out to be Black Bananya (Episode 7). The feeling of tension which turns out to be a total misapprehension, combined with Black Bananya’s virtual invisibility at night made this the episode I liked the most.
The visuals are simple, with heavy outlines on the characters and not a lot of movement. I think as this series is very stylised and is aiming to be cute, this isn’t a detriment to the show.
The soundtrack doesn’t especially stand out, but contains plenty of light comedic music which complements Bananya’s adventures. The ending theme ‘Lucky Holiday’ （ラキーホリデイ) by Axell is by nature extremely short, but is a well-suited conclusion to the show, with the same light tone as the rest of the show, and the depiction of the bananyas on a holiday.
Obviously with such a short episode format, there’s not a lot of time for character development, and the series rides on cuteness and comedy. Each bananya has an individual personality quirk, but I still don’t think that they’re particularly unique. I think that the narrator has excellent timing and reactions to the events that he sees and this makes the show quite lively and fun! I’m not even a particular fan of cats and I found this lovely to watch.
I’m not super big on giving shows scores as I feel that numbers alone don’t speak especially well for the quality of a show, and while you can consider a variety of specific factors such as visual style, music, plot, and so-on, that a show could be artistically excellent but not personally enjoyable. I guess it would be appropriate to finish up a review with a basic recommend or not recommend.
I definitely recommend this show if you enjoy short anime and/or you like cats! Bananya has been charming to watch from start to finish and while it doesn’t bring up any especially unique concepts, it’s a show which I looked forward to viewing each week.